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N.Y. Baptists achieve baptisms distinction

SCHROON LAKE, N.Y. (BP)–The 39th annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of New York convened at the Word of Life Inn and Conference Center, one of the leading Christian conference centers in the Northeast, in Schroon Lake, N.Y., Sept. 21-23.

The meeting’s theme was “It Is Time to Seek the Lord,” based on Hosea 10:12, which says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness: Reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes and rains righteousness on you.”

David Button, an associational missionary from the Adirondack Baptist Association, welcomed the 171 messengers and 41 guests representing 48 churches, and Ted Harvey, president of the convention, called the meeting to order.

Joe Wilson of Senatobia, Miss., led in worship, and Terry Robertson, the convention’s executive director, presented Gray Allison, president emeritus of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tenn., with a plaque honoring him for his vision and leadership in establishing the seminary’s northeast branch in Albany, N.Y.

Sing Oldham, vice president for convention relations for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee in Nashville, Tenn., brought greetings and expressed gratitude for the partnership Southern Baptists across the nation share with the New York convention in reaching people with the Gospel. The BCNY led the nation in the ratio of baptisms to resident members during the past year, Oldham noted. In a message from Luke 5, he encouraged York Baptists to continue to be fishers of men.

Robertson, during the executive director’s address, expressed a dream that 1 million people would come to know Christ through the ministries of the New York convention. He also presented a challenge for New York Baptists to share the good news about Jesus with at least one person each week for the rest of the year, and he asked messengers to let God use them to make a difference in the lives of the people who live within New York and the convention’s territories.

A $3,435,788 budget was approved for the coming year, down 1.02 percent from the current budget. The budget increases by .25 percent the allocation of Cooperative Program gifts from BCNY churches for SBC causes, moving to 27.5 percent of $885,000 anticipated in Cooperative Program giving from the churches. The remaining 72.5 percent of Cooperative Program gifts will support the New York convention’s outreach.

Messengers also collected an offering for hurricane relief totaling nearly $1,450.

Rick Wilburn, pastor of Tupper Lake Baptist Church in Tupper Lake, N.Y., was elected president of the convention; Mark Davis, pastor of West Monmouth Baptist Church in Freehold, N.J., first vice president; Steve Snow, pastor of Maryland Baptist Church in Maryland, N.Y, second vice president; and Van McClain, a member of Trinity Baptist Church in Niskayuna, N.Y., recording secretary.

Also at the annual meeting, the state convention entered a partnership with the Convention of Southern Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and marked the end of a partnership with the Georgia Baptist Convention. Georgia Baptists now will partner with the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association in New York City. Messengers approved a division of that association, with David Persson, currently the New Jersey regional ministry coordinator for the MNYBA, leading the new North Jersey association effective in January.

The Monday and Tuesday morning sessions began with a Bible study led by Allison. Others who spoke at the convention included Mike Gravette of the Georgia Baptist Convention, Carlos Rodriguez of the Convention of Southern Baptist Churches in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Gary Jennings of LifeWay Christian Resources, Kevy Rojos of GuideStone Financial Resources, Dan Rathmell of Davis College near Binghamton, N.Y., and Jake Roudkovski of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

During the president’s address, Harvey, pastor of Somerset Hills Baptist Church in Basking Ridge, N.J., recognized several members of the state convention who now are serving on the mission field. He also recognized the 2009 James Mission Offering recipients and preached from Jeremiah 18:1-6, reminding messengers that God can use them at any time, in any place and for any purpose.

The BCNY serves churches of New York State, northern New Jersey, southwestern Connecticut, western Massachusetts, as well as Cornwall and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The convention has 414 churches and missions with 29,728 members.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Sept. 24-25 at Davis College in Johnson City, N.Y.
Based on a report by Kathy Aubrey of the Baptist Convention of New York.

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